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Monday, August 26, 2013

Za Gaman - Endurance - The Pain Game TV Show

In Japan, much like in many countries around the world, when a young man or young woman finally makes it into university, a little silicon switch inside their brain tends to - more often than not - switch to overload.

While university is supposed to be about higher learning, nowadays it's more about learning how to get higher.

Even though I missed out on campus life by living at home, I spent my fair share of the time in university being drunk out of my gourd. The same for college... because I did a combined seven extra years of post-secondary education - time long enough to become a doctor... which of course I am not. At least not professionally.

But, I do know that while many people do crack the books and become leaders of society, I am also aware that others drink, do drugs, participate in also sorts of ludicrous sex and later become leaders of society.

I don't judge. I pretty much did that when I went to Japan in 1990 - for the first time ever free from the shackles of my parents who were celebrating me finally getting out of the house and hopefully getting laid, because wouldn't it be awful if Andrew never left our basement?

Anyhow... that's all water under the bridge and off a duck's back and any other water-related analogy you'd care to pipe in.

Let's look back to the 1980s... a time of incredibly bad hair in North America... a time when Andrew is proud to say he never had sex with a woman because he sure wouldn't want to recall that haircut. Man... what were hair salons thinking in that decade?

So... let's look at a television game show called Za Gaman... a program in which Japanese university students would compete in contests to see who could with stand the most pain, eat the most of a terrible food and or complete the most humiliating task.

This is the game show that made the rest of the world stand up and say, "Man that's some funny sh!t coming out of Japanese television, but what the fug is wrong with those dumb-ass Japs?"

Nothing.... they are university student contestants... they probably high on alcohol, drugs or calculus.

Za Gaman is translated into "Endurance"... and unfortunately for those contestants, it had nothing to do with seeing how far you could run.

Anyhow... here's the thing... Za Gaman was NOT a popular Japanese television program. It did, however achieve cult-like status around the world.... especially after bits of it aired on British TV.

The program was a version of an activity at Japanese universities, the gaman taikai or "endurance contest" - which apparently many universities have around the world. Man - what is wrong with you?

Back in Toronto... up until the year I got into high school, there was something called Nifty Niner Day, where basically any kid in Grade 9 could be teased and or tortured... but you couldn't kill them... always good news for me, considering I was nearly two years younger than everyone else in Grade 9 and smaller, wore glasses and was a visible minority in a time when fugging one did not involve the more hip activity of 2013 involving sex.

Urban Legend or not, at my high school it was discontinued just in time for my arrival owing to the fact that some Grade 13 students accidentally drowned a Nifty Niner by repeatedly flushing a kid's face while immersed in a toilet.

Ha-ha... pretty funny. Funny because it's not you.

But, since tragedy has obviously never struck while performing stupid human tricks at university, the trend continues.

Anyhow... Za Gamen would feature teams from prestigious universities around Japan such as Keio University, who would have to endure stuff such as being spun on the wheel of a paddle boat and holding on long enough to not drown, drinking hot sauce, being licked by some ugly mother-fugging lizards (I hate effing snakes - just call me India Joseph.... hmmm, not the same ring... and it makes me sound effeminate.), or having to be buried up to your neck in sand... for a while...

Whomever could endure the challenge the longest, was the wiener... sorry... I mean winner... I would also imagine that it would also mean you aren't going to become president of Toyota, but it is Japan, so who the fug knows what people really think about doing stupid things - and doing stupid things and winning.

In Japan, while everyone respects effort, they respect winning effort even more.

Here's a couple of You Tube clips of Za Gamen for your hilarious painful entertainment. Unlike the reality television show Susunu! Denpa Shōnen (see HERE), these dumb asses knew they were up for something torturous.


Paddlewheel:

Hot sauce and wasabi sucking:




And... since we are such sick bastards... here's one for the road from a more modern version of Za Gamen-like Japanese television show where four lucky male contestants get to wear diapers, insert something unpleasant up each other's ass and then try not to crap themselves while performing semi-athletic sporting events. No sh!t wins.


Aren't you glad you like watching a show called Jeopardy that has nothing to so with real jeopardy?

Cheers
Andrew Joseph

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